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Restoring Hope for the Future: Mentalization-Based Therapy in the Treatment of Suicidal States of Mind

posted Feb 4, 2021, 8:33 AM by Houston Psychoanalytic Society

Evening Speaker Series
Restoring Hope for the Future:
Mentalization-Based Therapy in the Treatment of Suicidal States of Mind
Presented by Shweta Sharma, PsyD
and J. Christopher Fowler, PhD
Thursday, March 4, 2021
7:30PM – 9:00PM CST

Zoom Presentation
*Pre-Registration required for Zoom invitation

Registration Fees
Members: Free
Non-Members: $20

CME/CEU (1.5 hrs.) Fees
Active & Student Members: Free
Friend Members: $20
Non-Members: $20

Patients who are suicidal present frightening challenges for clinicians. Many of us clinicians have or will very likely experience the devastating loss of a patient to suicide at some time in our professional lives. The effective assessment and management of suicidal states of mind is critical and complex for even the most seasoned clinician. In this presentation, we focus on the treatment of a suicidal patient using a mentalization-based approach. We believe a mentalizing approach opens-up non-suicidal pathways for enduring and dealing with emotional suffering underlying suicidal despair. We highlight the challenges and benefits of making mentalizing a core focus of therapy with a suicidal patient and reflect on its usefulness in the context of dynamic and psychoanalytic approaches to suicidal patients. We will link the suicidal breakdown to Maltsberger’s (2004) psychodynamic formulation of the suicidal crisis, articulate how a mentalizing treatment frame addresses the primary problem of the suicide crisis, and provide a clinical vignette to link theory to practice.

  1. Identify the psychic processes in suicidal breakdown, particularly the non-mentalizing modes that predominate suicidal states of mind.
  2. Describe a mentalizing treatment frame to use as a guide to the assessment and management of suicidal states of mind.
  3. Identify the challenges and benefits of making mentalizing a core focus in therapy with patients who are suicidal.
Shweta Sharma, Psy.D.serves as senior staff psychologist at The Menninger Clinic and as an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Baylor College of Medicine.She is also a clinical candidate in adult studies in psychoanalysis at the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies in Houston, Texas. Her clinical work focuses on the assessment and treatment of suicidal young adults. Her work has been published in several peer reviewed journals including The Journal of Psychoanalytic Study of the Child and APA's Psychotherapy Journal.
J. Christopher Fowler, PhD, is the Director of Professional Wellness and a Senior Clinician at Houston Methodist Hospital’s Behavioral Health. His clinical work focuses on helping physicians and executives overcome stress-related symptoms and restore optimal functioning. As a researcher, Dr. Fowler has over 100 scientific publications in the areas of suicide, depression, neuroimaging, and treatment outcome. He is an internationally recognized personality researcher and is past editor of The Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic.
Houston Psychoanalytic Society
1302 Waugh Dr. #276, Houston, TX 77019
(713) 429-5810
This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of American Psychoanalytic Association, Center for Psychoanalytic Studies, and Houston Psychoanalytic Society. The American Psychoanalytic Association is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The American Psychoanalytic Association designates this Live Activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION FOR ALL LEARNERS: None of the planners and presenters of this CME program have any relevant financial relationships to disclose.

HPS, through co-sponsorship with the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies, also offers approved CEs for social workers, licensed professional counselors, and marriage and family therapists.